Celebrating Thingyan in Yangon

April in Myanmar is hot. Scorching hot. It’s not only the sun that burns but also the air that surrounds you… it is constantly warm. Even when you’re just sitting down doing nothing sweat is dripping from your back and the only place you can be in for longer than 5 minutes is airconditioned.

Luckily it’s also the time the Burmese celebrate Thingyan, commonly known as the “water festival” or Songkran in Thailand. The whole city (and country) is splashing water on each other to erase past sins and to celebrate a new beginning.

If it weren’t for Thingyan I don’t know if we would have survived 10 days in the city. And if it weren’t for Thingyan we wouldn’t have seen the exuberantly happy side of the Burmese. While most of the year they’re bound to work almost day and night, during the festival they are free.

Trucks are driven around the city with people in the back ready to get soaked by the hundreds of hoses and buckets in the streets. Long communal tables are set up where people who join the festivities get free food, snacks and drinks. Everybody helps, everybody celebrates.

I absolutely loved Yangon and their people and hope to return one day. And yes, why not during the festival again because after all the memory of the heath will fade away but that of the smiles and kind people will stay.

Water festival YangonThingyan YangonThingyan YangonThingyan YangonThingyan YangonFree food for everybody at the water festivalWoman preparing dessertMan selling veggies in the cityBike in the cityWoman at the marketMan at the marketWoman in YangonView from the circular trainPlaying underneath the bridge

Yangon trip summary

  • Transport: We came in and left by plane! In the city itself we walked everywhere and occasionally took a taxi to get back home after a long day.
  • Stay: The wonderful Ocean Pearl Inn II guesthouse. They have the nicest staff and clean rooms in the center of the city.
  • Favourite dish: The dish I continue to miss is “Shan Kao Shwe”, which means “noodles Shan style”. It’s basically minced meat with a tomato based sauce on noodles and you can choose if you want it with or without soup. The best place to eat it is Nang Htik at Bogyoke Aung San Road 145.
  • Souvenirs: Pomelo is a beautiful shop filled with souvenirs made by local artisans.
  • Things to do: Ride the circular train and get off randomly to wander around town and discover new places, visit Bogyoke Aung San market and walk around the gates of the Minister’s building.
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